I too was very surprised to read the negative comments posted January 30th. I found it even more surprising to hear these things being said because the reasons the parent cited for leaving St. Nicholas were precisely the reasons we left a public school and became St. Nicholas parents. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher at a public school did not know my child, did not know that she was already reading, and had no interest in really finding out. I am so glad we switched to St. Nicholas precisely because the teachers know my child and they communicate with me clearly and regularly. Teachers do not assign letter grades: all assessment is based on the skills that the students are working on. I know what my children are studying and what they need to work on. I learn about this at the once a month parent-teacher conferences that are scheduled into the school calendar. In addition, as the February 23rd 2010 post stated, I have a very detailed and very long written evaluation that I receive twice a year. Two of my children have graduated from St. Nicholas, one is a current student. The teachers at St. Nicholas have helped all my children truly realize their potential.
I was appalled when I read the previous review...As a current parent, it seems that the previous poster couldn't have paid attention to the twice a year, 8+ page evaluation given to each of us detailing the exact progress of our child. From the number to which he/she can count, to the vowel sounds known, we are handed exceptional information, much more than any letter grade could portray. Each and every teacher, even those who do not teach my child, knows her name, as she does most of theirs. While we looked at other schools across the river, St. Nicholas has been an incredible experience, from the communication (the website to the individual teacher's newsletters, to the monthly parent conferences), the teachers, administration, other parents, and very caring classmates - we have loved it and are very thankful we found it!
St. Nicholas was a school recommended to me by colleagues as a more advanced cirriculum with teachers interested in children of all scopes and talents. Like all parents, we went through the tour of the school and met with teachers. In the beginning the school appeared to meet expectations. However, as the year advanced, it became clear that poor communication, lack of leadership, and lack of actual teacher participation in individual student assistance/instruction was an issue. Most of the students who do well atthis school come from families whose children would do well at any system/school. At the end of the year, I felt the teachers had limited knowledge of my child and actually did not even know he was reading for 4 months- which was truly pitiful. I would not recommend this school to anyone and have gratefully placed my children in a public school and now excel.
I love St. Nicholas! My child struggled during his first year in school, but the teachers were able to give him the individual attention he needed. He is now flourishing and we are looking forward to the upcoming school year. In response to a previous commenter who said that it took his or her child 2 years to catch up with other kids after leaving St. Nicholas, I must say that that particular situation is the very rare exception and not the rule. Officials and teachers from schools where St. Nicholas grads move on to have commented that kids from St. Nicholas are usually more prepared than kids from other schools. St. Nicholas does an excellent job of meeting a child's individual needs - academic, social, emotional, and spiritual. It is a top-notch school!
We moved to Chattanooga from a much larger city where my child had many afterschool enrichment opportunities and participated in at minimum four extra activities per week. I was very concerned that Chattanooga would not be able to afford the same opportunity. Luckily we were guided to St. Nicholas which was able to accomodate a fulfilling extracurricular schedule and where teachers found the time to welcome and embrace my child. I readily recommend the school and believe that my child has benefitted from attending thus far.
My child loves St. Nicholas! The environment is so nurturing, and the teachers are so caring. I love that they have chapel every morning. They really work to instill values and independence in children, which is so important! Academics are individualized to students so that they can work at their own level and improve at their own pace. I went to St. Nicholas myself, and I will always cherish my own experience there. I hope that both of my children have the opportunity to go all the way through Level 7.
I have two children who attended St Nicholas, both starting in Level 1 and going through Level 7. I guess no place is perfect, but I believe St Nicholas was as close as we could have gotten. I believe St Nicholas help lay a foundation, both for a passion for learning as well as growing wonderful characters. Chapel is a place where they learned respect for those different from themselves and daily they were reminded of how special they are as individuals. Regularly they recount stories they heard in chapel or I see smiles on their faces when they recognize one of the songs they heard during this special time. They are thriving academically, take full responsibility for their learning and strive to do their best in whatever they are attempting. I will always be thankful for the lessons they learned at St Nicholas.
I'm in my 11th year as a St. Nicholas parent, and I can't imagine a more wonderful environment for my kids--socially, spiritually, & academically. It pains me to read reviews from disappointed parents, because I know how wonderful our experience has been. However, I know there is no perfect school, and no school can be perfect for every child. The children who thrive at St. Nicholas are the ones who are bright, inquisitive, and motivated to learn. Some children require more external motivation or do best with neat little rows of desks and complete silence from everyone but the teacher. At SNS, the classrooms at first strike you as chaotic. But the more you observe, the more you sense an amazing degree of organization, independence, and discipline that the teachers have been able to instill in the students. As a result, the students thrive and are highly successful learners.
I am in complete agreement with the parent who had the courage to post his/her comments on Feb. 15, 2008. It was with great surprise and disappointed that I as a parent could not share an ELC field trip experience with my child and was assigned to a different group. Nor am I allowed to visit or help in my child's ELC classroom. If some parents do not mind being in a different group than their child, their view point should be respected - but for those of us parents who would like to experience the few Pre-School field trips that our children go on we should be allowed to do that. It is such an uncomfortable feeling that when I saw something my child would like on the trip, I couldn't tell him/her because they separated us on the field trip. Please change this policy St. Nich.
The true benefit of a St. Nicholas education is that the positive effects last not just through secondary school and college, but manifest themselves even more upon a graduate's entry into the 'real' world as an adult. Shortly after graduating college and starting my first professional job, I realized that the basic skills and values I took for granted (i.e. budgeting my time, a strong command of the English language, concern for others) were not always evident in my peers' work. These skills and values had all been developed at St. Nicholas. Not only that, but my high standard of what constituted good work, also developed at St. Nicholas, was surprising even to my bosses, and resulted in quick promotions and continued professional success. I can only hope to find a school of equal calibur for my children in our current home of Washington, D.C.